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Ex-NBC Sports Philadelphia host Marshall Harris lands a new gig

Marshall Harris is giving up his hoodie to return to suit life.

WIP fill-in host and former NBC Sports Philadelphia personality Marshall Harris (right, seen here with former Phillies slugger Ryan Howard), is heading to the West Coast for a new job in Sacramento.
WIP fill-in host and former NBC Sports Philadelphia personality Marshall Harris (right, seen here with former Phillies slugger Ryan Howard), is heading to the West Coast for a new job in Sacramento.Read moreCourtesy of Marshall Harris (custom credit)

Marshall Harris is heading to the West Coast, where he’s giving up his hoodie to return to suit life.

Harris, a fill-in host at 94.1 WIP best known to area sports fans for the 10 years he spent at NBC Sports Philadelphia and Comcast SportsNet, is joining the CBS affiliate in Sacramento as the network’s sports director.

Harris' last spot hosting on WIP will be on Dec. 28 from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. He starts his new role in Sacramento on Jan. 7.

“I’m just excited to do something new and get back to the challenge of competing,” Harris said. “If Sacramento embraces me the way Philadelphia has, we’re all going to have a ridiculous amount of fun.”

In a way, it’s a return to his childhood, as Harris was a fan of the Golden State Warriors as a kid during the team’s high-flying “Run TMC” days. But Oakland is a few hours south of Sacramento, where his main focus will be covering De’Aaron Fox and the underrated Kings.

“I think the Kings are low-key, one of the most fun teams in the league. Can’t wait to apply everything I’ve learned in Philly to covering them,” Harris said.

Harris took the high road when his contract wasn’t renewed at NBC Sports Philadelphia in April, saying at the time that he held “no ill will” over the decision.

"I was [NBC Sports Philadelphia's vice president of content] Michelle Murray's first on-air hire,” Harris said. “She gave me the opportunity to make Philadelphia my next stop and I'm thankful to now call it my home after 10 years. It's five times longer than I'd stayed at any previous stop."

Lee Leonard, who spoke the first words ever broadcast on ESPN, dies

Sports anchor Lee Leonard, best known for speaking the first words ever broadcast on ESPN, died over the weekend at his New Jersey home, ESPN announced Tuesday. He was 89.

Lee was a well-known sports talker in New York City when executives at ESPN, then an upstart cable channel, hired him to co-anchor what would become their flagship show — SportsCenter.

“If you’re a fan, if you’re a fan, what you’ll see in the next minutes, hours and days to follow may convince you you’ve gone to sports heaven,” Leonard said during the historic first broadcast on ESPN, which aired on Sept. 7, 1979.

Despite his now-historic television moment, Leonard only remained at ESPN for six months, disappointed that the “entertainment” in ESPN wasn’t getting the play he felt it deserved.

“I was tired of sports. So when it became obvious to me that there wasn’t going to be any entertainment, brilliant me, I thought this thing was never going to work,” Leonard told author James Andrew Miller for Miller’s 2011 oral history of ESPN, Those Guys Have All the Fun.

“A bit of him was larger than life,” longtime ESPN anchor Bob Ley, who is on sabbatical from the network, told the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand. “He brought life to the newsroom. He didn’t take himself too seriously. He didn’t take the games so seriously. There was a lot to this guy, more than just anchoring SportsCenter.”

Leonard would later go on to become the first main anchor on News 12 New Jersey when the station launched in March 1996.

“I thought he brought an instant credibility to us. We were such a young staff at that point. I was one of the veterans and I was 32. And having somebody like Lee going out on set and doing the newscast for us — instant credibility,” said longtime News 12 anchor and reporter Walt Kane.

Leonard is survived by his wife, Kelly Bishop, an actress who is best known for playing the matriarch Emily Gilmore on Gilmore Girls. He also leaves behind a daughter and a grandson.

Harold Reynolds whiffs on slugging percentage

Slugging percentage has been an official statistic of baseball since 1923, and is one of the go-to metrics for judging a batter’s power from the plate.

But MLB Network host and two-time All-Star Harold Reynolds (whose career slugging percentage was .341) revealed Tuesday that he didn’t really know much about the number.

During a discussion with Ken Rosenthal on Hot Stove comparing MLB free agent Manny Machado and newly signed Astros outfielder Michael Brantley, Reynolds got upset they weren’t talking about home runs. But as Rosenthal pointed out, home runs are factored into a player’s slugging percentage.

“No it’s not!” Reynolds shot back.

Later in the segment, Reynolds backtracked a bit, but still couldn’t quite figure out how slugging percentage is calculated.

“Is not a home run and a double credited the same thing in slugging percentage?” Reynolds asked.

“No,” Rosenthal dryly noted.

For those doing the math at home, slugging percentage is simply the number of total bases a batter earns divided by the number of at bats. Singles count as one point, doubles as two, and so on. So a home run is worth four points — two more than a double.

Here’s the basic equation, offered by Baseball Reference:

([Singles] + [Doubles x 2] + [Triples x 3] + [Home Runs x 4])/[At Bats]